Mumbai cops pose as politicians to catch notorious chain-snatcherIllustration/Ravi Jadhav

The police have to always be one step ahead of the criminals they are chasing, which means they have to come up with innovative ways to catch them.

A Special Investigation Team, formed to catch a notorious chain-snatcher from Kalyan, had to disguise themselves as political workers in order to lure him out of his hiding place in Ahmednagar. After three days of roaming the area in a jeep decorated as a campaign vehicle, they found Jaffer alias Manoj Irani (22).

"He has several offences of chain snatching registered against him in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Ahmednagar. The Thane police had booked him under the MCOCA Act before he fled," said an officer from SIT.

Mumbai cops pose as politicians to catch notorious chain-snatcherJaffer alias Manoj Irani

Sub-inspector Anand Pingle, from Kurla police station, had got information that Jaffer was hiding in Shreerampur taluka in Ahmednagar district. A couple of months ago, when another police team had tried to catch Jaffer, the locals had attacked the team. This time they had to come up with a new idea.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Fulsingh Pawar formed a Special Investigation Team comprising 10 officers from Dharavi, VB Nagar and Kurla police stations. Last week, the police party reached Shreerampur taluka, which was busy with local body elections. So, the SIT decided to take advantage of this election fever.They hired a private vehicle and decorated it as a political campaign vehicle. Some of the officials started patrolling the taluka posing as political workers. "Our team had to resort to this disguise, because earlier while searching for criminals while in uniform, our jeeps and personnel were pelted with stones," said an officer from the SIT.

On Friday evening, Jaffer was spotted in the area. “We distracted him by talking about various issues. We then asked him to take us to an address we pretended to be looking for. Once we were on the Expressway, we told him who we were and arrested him,” said the officer.

Jaffer was brought to VB Nagar police station, where he confessed of his crimes.